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The 34-word Owen Farrell reply about Danny Cipriani's 'mafia' claim

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Owen Farrell was put on the spot on Monday in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage when asked what he made about Danny Cipriani’s headline-grabbing accusations about the current England captain.


A soon-to-be-published autobiography by Cipriani – titled Who Am I? – is currently being serialised in The Times and an extract over the weekend was reputational damaging to Farrell who is in France but suspended for his team’s opening two matches at the Rugby World Cup.

Cipriani alleged that a clique involving Farrell ran the 2015 England team heading into that year’s home World Cup, a tournament that Cipriani eventually wasn’t selected for.

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“Everyone knows there’s a clique of players which helps run the team: Owen Farrell, George Ford, Chris Robshaw, Dan Cole, Ben Youngs, a couple of others.

“They’re called ‘the leadership group’, but they’re more like the mafia, always appearing to be scheming,” wrote Cipriani about a squad that went on to bomb out of the World Cup at the group stage.

“Still, I get on fine with most of them. At least I think I do. Sam Burgess is in a WhatsApp group with the mafia until one day he posts a picture on Instagram of me and him in a coffee shop.

“A few hours later, George screenshots the picture and messages it to Sam, before removing him from the group. Sam couldn’t care less… I’m not sure what I’ve done to offend them, but clearly I’m not as welcome as I thought I was.”


Asked for his thoughts on what Cipriani had alleged in his autobiography, Farrell gave a short 34-word answer at Monday’s arrival media briefing in France.

“I have seen what you are talking about. I don’t even know what to say, to be honest. I know Danny has got a book coming out so hopefully that goes well for him.”

Farrell was asked about the Cipriani allegations after he had earlier spoken about the red card last month that led to his current four-game suspension.

That has made him unavailable for England’s opening two World Cup matches, this Saturday against Argentina in Marseille and the September 17 fixture versus Japan in Nice.


“I didn’t know at the time,” he said when quizzed if he immediately realised he had illegally clattered into Wales’ Taine Basham with shoulder-to-head contact at Twickenham on August 12.

“I knew when it came on the big screen. But it is what it is. I have been banned. I accept that I have been banned and I am gutted not to be playing but I am trying to do everything for this team.

“It [the ban] is what it is… I made a mistake and I got banned for it in the end… I’m not going to sit here and moan about it now. I’m excited for this World Cup to start, I’m excited to see what this team can do and I’ll look forward to being available again.”



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